Post #Gallerycamp13 reflection on #bestbywm website

Read the blog here

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Initial Reflections + Storify from #Gallerycamp13 #letsmakestuff 26/11/13.

Big thanks to all of you who came to the #gallerycamp13 #letsmakestuff workshops at Birmingham City University’s Parkside Campus yesterday (26/11/13).

Image courtesy of @poojadat

The workshops proved how the #makeymakey inspires folk into making, doing and creating. It’s such an amazing piece of kit and I would heartily encourage those of you who came up with such great ideas to build on them and pursue them … and tell the world about the day. Indeed, go out and buy the #makeymakey or other great devices such as the Raspberry Pi  to realise those ideas and where necessary bring in the investment to make your decisions a reality.

In terms of addressing the opportunities and challenges of galleries and other arts organisations, giving creative people the kit to realise ideas simply and effectively is so important. The #makeymakey is one such example.

It taps into the bigger agenda of encouraging arts organisations to do this stuff – to embrace digital technologies – and how they can address ideas in their simplest and purest form.

Set a challenge … get a few materials together … come up with a solution! As Mark Brill said at yesterday’s event, it’s not teleportation that we’re doing here! It’s something much more impactful.

Much more reflection and content to come. What did you think of the event yesterday? What’s your view of the makeymakey? Drop me a tweet @timmy666.

As a starter for ten, please check out the Storify from yesterday’s event – please click here.


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Reflections on Digital City Culture Day: “Fostering an ecology of experimentation”

Last Wednesday, 6th November 2013, the BBC hosted the Digital City Culture Day (#BhamDCCD), an event about the future – funding, investment, opportunities – encouraging cross-discipline collaboration in the cultural and digital industries in Birmingham, showcasing best practice and offer networking opportunities.

One of the more inspirational presentations from Wednesday’s event was by Matt Davenport from the most brilliant Pervasive Media studio to talk about their work and  projects.

I am a fan of what Pervasive Media do, and have followed their work as well as other businesses and programmes at The Watershed over a number of years. In addition to Matt providing a number of case studies (such as the Danceroom Spectroscopy project, the Hello Lamp Post in Bristol or  Makey-Makey-styled inspired Piano Stairs in Stockholm from a few years now (see below)), it was in PM’s approach that was most interesting.

Beyond the projects themselves, which undeniably appeal to the creatives in us, what stood out was PM’s approach of fun and play, what Matt called “an ecology of experimentation”. Matt invited us to embrace some key principles in their approach:

  • Fail good and fail fast
  • Be up for a punt
  • The importance of community
  • Tell brilliant stories
  • Be promiscuous

Hello Lamp Post from PAN Studio on Vimeo.

Behind these projects, there’s a lot of serious hard work required to realising “great creative ideas”. Peta Murphy-Burke commented that a key part to all this is the role of digital cultural producers working across the arts and cultural sector to work on good programmes, ensuring great ideas become collaborations, services, products, solutions – not just artistically but also, importantly, commercially.

There is a great amount of knowledge and expertise in Birmingham – and there is such opportunity to share resources. Being the host,  the BBC can (obviously) play a big part in this, and  this was explicitly alluded to by the Beeb themselves at the event. I am intrigued to see what The Mailbox can/will offer to the business community!

The role of Universities are also vital in brokering opportunities and collaborations across the creative, cultural and digital sectors such the CATH project at the University of Birmingham, the Cross Innovation programme at Birmingham City University.

In the spirit of play and fun, and to pool such resources, I am running an event hosted by Birmingham City University at their new Parkside Campus with support from Arts Council England on Tuesday November 26th, which is all about fun, play and operating within the fore said “ecology of experimentation“.

Building on the #Gallerycamp13 unconference held in September,  whether you’re a cultural or a digital professional, producer, consultant, geek, mover, shaker or entrepeneur, this is an open source/open space event to build great ideas/opportunities/products (using Makey Makeys) based on key themes/issues highlighted for galleries (including artists, curators, managers etc.) and related arts individuals/organisations, encourage people to work out of their silos or work cultures.

This is a great time to pool resources and get those creative ideas into motion. In a nutshell, let’s make stuff! To book your FREE place on the event, book here. Places are limited.

For more on the day, check out Ashwin Bolar’s #Storify of the event here.

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A Colourful Crowd Presents …. Sue Beardsmore

Presenting You with Sue Beardsmore
Saturday 16th November
11am-3pm at The New Art Gallery Walsall.Places are strictly limited.

Tickets are £5 and include refreshments.

To book, please call 01922 654400.

A Colourful Crowd is delighted to welcome former Midlands Today presenter Sue Beardsmore to The New Art Gallery Walsall for a half day workshop all about developing and presenting ‘brand’ you!

Understanding how to present yourself is a very important part of your own development.
Whether it’s a job interview, a meeting, a networking event, a presentation, a tv or radio spot or a performance, this event is all about you!In this session with Sue, you will develop a whole host of skills, have some fun, play some games, do some exercises and ultimately go one step further in your own development, wherever you are.

Join us on the 16th November for what promises to be a fun and worthwhile workshop.

To book, please call 01922 654400.

About Sue

Sue Beardsmore worked for BBC television for over 25 years on daily news. She was one of the main presenters of Midlands Today, and was happy working in front of, or behind the cameras. She has extensive production, writing and coaching experience, both inside and outside the BBC.

She is now a media skills consultant and trainer – working with everyone from school children to chief executives on presentation and media skills in the UK and abroad..

She has a BA in English and Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and an MA in Mass communications from the University of Leicester. She is Chair of Governors of a Birmingham Primary School, and a member of the West Midlands Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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A Colourful Crowd new tumblr page now live

Go to to check it out.


New website of A Colourful Crowd is now live.

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Storify – first #youthwm chat

Here’s the Storify lowdown of the many interesting things discussed at the first #youthchat yesterday!

Join us next Thursday between 1 and 2pm for chat about all things arts, culture and creativity for young people!

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